Celtics fall short of 18th title
A season that taught many people a lesson about self-belief, as well as trusting in the spirit instead of the record, fell one game short last night. The Celtics were buried by a hail of Lakers free throws and late, back-breaking 3-pointers from Derek Fisher and Ron Artest that finally put their improbable postseason run to rest.
Their 83-79 Game 7 loss came while circled by a standing rectangle of Hollywood glitz, one celebrity more inspired than the next as the Lakers sealed their 16th NBA title – now one less than the Celtics. A teary Celts locker room broke virtually in silence.
“I just can’t think about much right now,” said Tony Allen, an impending free agent who still was shedding tears 30 minutes after the confetti started to fall from the Staples Center rafters.
Ugly ending for Celtics, Finals
There have been a lot of classic NBA Finals games played between the Celtics and Lakers. Last night wasn’t one of them.
“Thank you Lakers and Celtics for another classic,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in the post-game coronation following the Lakers’ 83-79 Game 7 victory.
You and I have a different definition of classic, Mr. Commissioner. This game was U-G-L-Y from the start with the Celtics and Lakers staggering to the Finals finish line. Neither team had broken the 60-point barrier with 9:00 left in the fourth quarter. However, for the Lakers this one resembles Scarlett Johansson in pulchritude today. For the Celtics it’s an unsightly setback.
In the end, Celtics ran out of gas
The Celtics are going home without the Larry O’Brien Trophy because the Lakers simply outmuscled them, outmaneuvered them, and pretty much did what they had done two nights earlier on the glass. They had their way.
And if we learned anything in this series, the games were won by the team that got the rebounds. In a nutshell, that is how the Celtics lost Game 7, 83-79, and that is how they lost the NBA Finals. They were never a particularly good rebounding team all season. They were definitely not a good rebounding team in the final two games of the NBA Finals, only one of which they needed to win.
Game 7 won’t be remembered as a thing of beauty. This was Wicked Witch of the West ugly.
Rasheed Wallace May Call it a Career After Leaving Everything on the Court in Game 7
The mark of a great player is playing every game like it’s your last. The mark of a borderline-washed-up 35-year-old is only playing that way when you absolutely have to — like when it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and you’re called upon for a rare start in a critical moment.
For Rasheed Wallace, Game 7 of the NBA Finals was a tantalizing one. Wallace gave the Celtics 11 points, eight rebounds and relentless physicality on the defensive end against Pau Gasol. It was a great performance, but it made you wonder — why can’t he always play like this? After the game, we might have gotten our answer out of Doc Rivers.
“You know, I don’t know if Rasheed will ever play again,” the Celtics coach said. “I think he took that out on the floor with him. I think he is thinking about retiring, and I thought you could see that in his play.”
So there you have it. Maybe Wallace was playing like it was his last game because it was.